Tojinbo - Oshima (2)

東尋坊 − 雄島



Koinobori, carp-shaped streamers, or carp windsocks, decorate the landscape of Japan from April through early May, in honour of Children's Day (originally Boys' festival) on May 5. In Japanese culture, the carp symbolizes courage and strength because of its ability to swim up a waterfall.
Originally, the streamers were used by samurai warriors on the battlefield. Whenever the ancient warriors were on the battlefield, they wore full yoroi armor and flew streamers. The streamers were painted in various colours and shapes. Some of them had carp pictures on them. They became "carp streamers" at the beginning of the modern age. Since the carp's courage and strength is a trait desired in boys, families traditionally have flown koinobori from their homes to honour their sons.

The top streamer, the largest, is called the fukinagashi and is often decorated with the family crest.

The next streamer is a black carp, followed by a red, a blue carp, and a green carp. There seems to be a bit of confusion as to what they symbolize, but the general consensus is that the black carp represents the father of the family, the red the mother, and the blue and green the sons. When a family has another son, a new streamer is added. But with today's smaller families, I've never seen a koinobori with more than four carp.

The making of Koinobori began at the end of the Edo era (1603-1867), when manufacturers of paper umbrellas and lanterns began accepting orders for them. Thus, in the early days, Koinobori were made using Washi (hand made paper), later on, they were made of cotton, and now of polyester. The designs of Koinobori are created by the technique known as Tegaki (hand painting).
































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